…Mary Our Mother…
(from a May 8, 1978 Conference)

I knew a very holy priest once who preached very effective retreats and had great success.  He used to say that during some very serious illnesses he had suffered from, when he found himself too ill to pray, he had, however, found that he could pray to Mary.  Surely a mother would be near her sick child.  I have known very ill people saying the Rosary almost continually.  They seemed to say the Hail Mary even when asleep or unconscious.  At any rate, let us not forget this great source of help in trouble, which Jesus has given us in His Mother.
The life of the Church is like a continuation or repetition of the earthly life of Christ, and spread out among all the many members of the Church we find all the different aspects of Our Lord’s life on earth.  Some members reproduce the joyful aspects of His life, some the sorrowful.  Some have the special grace of carrying on the prayer life of Jesus, others His apostolic life, spreading the truth by word of mouth.  Among the elements of Jesus’ life that have to be carried on in some of His members in a special way down the ages is His love for His Mother, His dependence on Her, and His acceptance of Her influence and guidance in His upbringing as a boy.  Some of us have the privilege of being children of Mary in a special way.  There are many forms of consecration to Our Lady, and they are all good if they are made sincerely and with understanding and are lived up to afterwards.  We have no obligation to consecrate ourselves to Mary, but we cannot please Her Son if we ignore Her.  And if we have the grace, it is a great blessing to be allowed to consecrate ourselves to Her and regard ourselves as Her special children and servants.
There is one form of consecration that seems to be especially pleasing to Mary and specially rewarded by Her Son.  It is consecration to Her Immaculate Heart.  I say it is particularly pleasing to Her because experience has shown any number of us that the effects of this dedication are very marked and profound, and because it is something Our Lady asked for when She appeared at Fatima in 1917.  The heart is a symbol of love, and this consecration puts us under the close and constant influence of the love of Mary, Her love for Jesus and Her love for us.  Of course there is no point in giving oneself to Mary or to Her Immaculate Heart if it is merely a form of words we say, and afterwards we do not regard ourselves as under a special obligation to Her.  We have to live this dedication; we have to regard our lives as belonging to Mary and as being at the service of Her love in any way She wishes.  We have to use our time as She would have us use it.  We have to use our property and spend our money in the way She would want.  We have to do the things we feel She wants and avoid everything that She would want us to avoid.  We have to belong to Her.
You could say if you wanted to that this consecration merely involves living our Christian lives entirely for God, and that is true.  You might say that if we live in complete consecration to Jesus and especially to the love of His Sacred Heart we shall be doing perfectly, and that is true.  So why bring Mary into it?  The fact is that living a life completely for Our Lord is not easy and we often fail.  We have a lot to learn and we need to persevere through many failures.  But the easiest way to learn and strive and persevere is to do it in the arms of Mary, just as Jesus when a little child was led and protected and looked after by Her.  If we do give ourselves to Mary it is purely and simply in order to be given to Jesus, and that is what Mary does with us if we let her.  She makes the way to Jesus safer and easier even if it still demands all we have and all we are.  Mary is a lovely Mother to have with us as we grow up spiritually from our present state into the saints we are meant to become.
Jesus and Mary are inseparable in the action that brings us to God, and Our Lord did not give His Mother to be ours with the intention that we should forget Her or regard Her help as an optional extra in the spiritual life.  We need Her, and there She is waiting for us to call on Her.  “Remember O most Blessed Virgin Mary,” we say, “that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored you help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.”  This is a prayer the Church teaches us to say, and we go on in it to affirm our confidence in Our Mother’s help.
Our Lady has many privileges.  She was immaculately conceived.  She was always sinless.  She was assumed body and soul into heaven.  All these privileges are made known to us for us to ponder over.  But the most moving and helpful and inspiring truth about Our Lady is surely that She is our Mother as well as the Mother of God.
If a mother is going to bring us up well, and if we are going to benefit to the full from her care and comfort and affection, it is necessary for us to realize and admit that she really is our Mother.  We must then live as Her children.  We must pray to Her like children with their mother.  We must take it for granted that She will hear all our prayers, and even if sometimes She answers “No’, because we ask for things that She knows will poison us, we must be confident that She will obtain for us from God everything that is good for us.
In this troubled world and in these troubled times we need the protection and guidance and love and comfort of Mary our Mother, and She will give it to us if we really give ourselves to Her.

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